5 Signs It's Time to Fire a Company Manager

A poor supervisor can dampen employee engagement and satisfaction, prompting an exodus. Here's what to look out for.

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By Heather R. Huhman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Not every individual is a born leader. Heck, not every individual can even develop into one.

Hiring good managers is one of the most important decisions a company can make. According to Gallup, however, 82 percent of companies fail to hire the right talent for the job.

A bad manager can dim employee engagement and satisfaction, which is why people almost always quit their bosses, not their employer. If you don't address the manager situation, not just one but multiple employees could leave. (I have personally witnessed an entire department's leaving at once in response to a bad manager.)

Here are five warning signs that it's time to fire management:

Related: 4 Ways to Destroy Toxic Office Politics

1. Decisions are being made based on politics, not productivity. Bad managers are manipulative and might take advantage of situations to advance their own profile. For example, a manager could use the results of high-performing employees in his department to set himself up for a promotion.

In addition to looking out for their own best interests, bad managers seek out ways to improve the position of their friends and those favored by upper management. In other words, a situation in which "the rich get richer" occurs.

2. Communication is one-way. Effective managers will engage employees and encourage two-way communication. But if a manager only carries out orders and does not listening to employees, this can harm a department's productivity.

An example of this might be if a manager simply delegates tasks and ignores any questions raised by individual employees instead of welcoming employee feedback during project assignments.

Related: Smart Leaders Keep Their Ego in Check and Listen In

3. Employee complaints are on the rise. Something is obviously wrong when the human resources department starts receiving complaints from employees. Look for patterns in these complaints. Is the complaint always the same, though made by multiple people?

Are women complaining more than the men or vice versa? Typically it takes an awful lot of dissatisfaction for employees to decide to contact HR, so all complaints should be taken seriously and investigated fully.

4. The manager abuses his or her power. Most managers are granted a lot of power. When they abuse it, things can quickly go downhill for an entire department or even the organization as a whole. In a hypothetical scenario, a manager might force an employee to work late every day until he or she finishes a project for which the worker is solely responsible. Perhaps the manager even takes things one step further and threatens to report that employee should he or she not stay late to finish a project.

Related: 4 Behaviors You Never Want to See in a Leader

5. Employees are being thrown under the bus. If the sales results didn't meet the company's goal for the last quarter, say, a bad manager might place all the blame on the employees.

When a workplace goal is not achieved, it often reflects on management. Strong managers understand that they must hold themselves accountable for their failures and successes.

Related: 5 Ways to Become a Better Manager

Should the company identify a manager who should be let go, schedule a private meeting. Employers should fire a manager in a private area, as is advised for any firing.

According to Gallup, only about 1 in 10 people possess the talent to manage. Although this is a small pool, it's still possible to find born leaders or those with the potential to become solid managers.

Don't ever promote someone into a management role just because he or she has been with the company for a certain length of time and thinks a promotion is "owed."

When hiring a new manager or promoting from within, pay attention to character and soft skills, rather than experience alone. Individuals who demonstrate an ability to lead, collaborate, motivate, engage and inspire others make excellent candidates.

To prevent future bad hires, do personality testing or grant a potential manager a test-run. Bring in a candidate for a week to see how that person interacts with other employees. Afterward, employees can provide feedback about whether the person would be a good fit.

How did you figure out it's time to fire a manager?

Related: Sizing Up Candidates for Cultural Fit Throughout the Hiring Process

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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